When you choose to travel, you are choosing to give yourself and your mind a break from the monotonous patterns of your life. But it’s more than that. Travel is liberating and life-changing. Below are some of the most common benefits of traveling for your mental, emotional, and physical health.
Scientifically proven benefits of traveling
Vacation reduces stress and improves your mood
People who go on vacations are less anxious and stressed. If they are normally stressed, they are at least willing to take a break from those stressors to travel.
Traveling may decrease heart disease
According to the Framingham Heart Study of cardiovascular disease, men who did not have a vacation for several years were 30% more likely to have heart attacks—this compared to men who took regular vacations. It is similar for women as well. Women who took a vacation once every six years (or less) were almost eight times more likely to have a heart attack or develop coronary heart disease, compared to women who vacationed at least twice a year.
Vacationing enhances your creativity
This is because foreign experiences increase cognitive flexibility.
Travel improves your brain health
As you adapt to new situations and become more globally and culturally aware, these new experiences increase your cognitive flexibility.
Travel leads to a deeper sense of cultural awareness
You will experience a deeper sense of cultural awareness provided, of course, you engage and immerse yourself in the new culture.
Traveling expands your mind
As you meet new people and discover new things, your personal growth expands. According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, people who travel abroad are more open and emotionally stable.
Taking a vacation can decrease depression
Besides decreasing depression, traveling can also make you happier—this according to a study conducted of 1500 women by the Marshfield Clinic. Women who choose to vacation more frequently are less likely to become depressed, tense, or tired. They are also happier in their marriages. If you think about it, it makes sense because if you are traveling, you are away from the source of things that cause your depression.
Exploring the world makes you healthier
As you travel, you are exposed to different environments. This creates stronger antibodies and a significant boost in your immune system. If you go on vacation frequently, you are also more likely to be satisfied with your physical health and wellbeing.
Vacationing leads to less stress
This may seem obvious, but if you are away from work or environments that cause stress, you will have less stress.
A wonderful vacation can temporarily boost your productivity
Taking a break to travel relieves exhaustion, improves your problem-solving abilities, allows time for self-reflection, and can help general new ideas.
Traveling may increase life expectancy
All forms of travel (local or international) enhance our lives. It reduces stress, boosts our brain health, and it keeps our bodies healthy.
Life-enhancing benefits of traveling
While the above benefits of traveling are important and certainly will motivate you to travel, I encourage you to also consider these life-enhancing benefits of traveling:
- As human beings, we regret more the things we don’t do than the things we do. Travel IS expensive but I often think about this fact and it always sways me toward finding a way to make travel happen.
- Experiences will be remembered long after. By traveling, you can create a lifetime of memories.
- Traveling boosts your confidence. As you travel, you will face situations you will have to respond to spontaneously. As you do this, you build confidence.
- Travel broadens your mind and your horizons. You cannot come back from travel with a narrow mind filled with bigotry and prejudice. This is one of many reasons I insist my children see the world.
- You taste new foods. Even if you are not an adventurous eater, it is still fun to try different ways of eating the foods you do like. For example, have you ever tried pizza with bbq sauce? (Debonairs Pizza, South Africa)
- You meet new people and hopefully make friends.
- You experience different cultures. In the South African culture, for example, you will find black men from certain tribes holding hands. This is not because they are gay, but because they have a deep friendship. Learning and understanding things like this open your mind in amazing ways.
- You experience new ways of doing things. This is one of my favorite parts of traveling, particularly if I come home and implement what I’ve learned.
- You have fun or interesting stories to tell.
- You know you can reach big goals. For most people, traveling may seem like an unattainable goal. However, if you travel despite the difficulties you face, it makes you feel like you can do big things! This is very empowering.
- You become a better version of yourself. It’s inevitable. You’ve seen more and done more than the average person, so you cannot help but see the world differently.
- You learn valuable lessons. If you live in a place that is relatively safe, you’ll need to adapt quickly to cities where people have to be on their guard all the time.